Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner Lalit Modi on Wednesday accused Australian captain Ricky Ponting of putting pressure on his fellow players to skip the third edition of the Twenty20 league beginning March 12.
There were reports in the Australian media as well that a discussion on the security report by England team's security adviser Reg Dickason caused a split between high profile freelance players and Ricky Ponting when the situation was outlined at an Australian Cricketers' Association meeting in Sydney. Dickason said there was a credible terrorist threat to the IPL.
Shane Warne, Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist, who have supported each IPL tournament, clashed with Ponting over the way forward.
"Been told Ricky Ponting pressuring players not to come. Maybe its due to the fact he was dropped from KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders)," Modi tweeted.
Modi was scathing in his criticism of the Federation of International Cricket Association (FICA), and said the federation was using the security issue to armtwist IPL. He reiterated that IPL will take place in India.
"I have been sent messages through various quarters to entertain FICA president Tim May. Unfortunately, we do not recognise FICA or any agents. Security seems to be the new mantra of players associations to armtwist us on sitting at the table with us. We inform all boards."
"South African players are touring in India and security is fine for them as provided by the governement," he said. "World Cup hockey is on and all are satisfied with the arrangements."
"The IPL will be played in India. The government has already given ample assurances for safe conduct of games. We are working with all agencies in this direction," Modi pointed out.
Modi said if a few international players choose to pull out, they can. But he warned they risk their future in IPL.
"If a few players play into the hands of the FICA and not show up - no issues. We allow only four international players per team. [If a] few miss, no issues. We have great talent in each team," Modi said.
"We will allow replacement for those who decide not to show up. They risk being in future IPL. The call will be there's," Modi cautioned.
"We have 98 players on the waiting list eager to get called in for replacement. So they have hope now if some drop out."